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tv   The Dylan Ratigan Show  MSNBC  March 8, 2010 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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good afternoon to you. i am dylan ratigan. president obama leaving washington to put health care in its fight in front of the american people. but today we're asking, has the president become something like the teacher in the cartoon charlie brown? democratic congressman massa supposed to be resigning from congress within the hour. he said it's because of health problems. but that isn't stopping from blaming democrats for pushing him out because of his no vote on health care. we're talking to senator maria cantwell about that. and hollywood had a lot of the realism last night. criticism coming today from the real vets. we're mixing it up. the show starts right now. well, good afternoon to you in america today. the president hit the road once again to push the health care bill, a war as he has been waging for more than a year. the white house ramping up an
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attack against the insurance companies, even though there are still insurance monopolies all across this country and the antitrust that would eliminate it has been stripped out of the current health care bill by the democrats. take a listen. >> but because there's so little competition in the insurance industry, they're okay with people being priced out of the insurance market and they will keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it. >> now, it does seem every time a president speaks, nobody hears him. in fact, he's starting to remind us of the teacher in charlie brown. you remember this. [ inaudible ]. >> yes, ma'am? [ inaudible ]. >> last week it was health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius. sebelius followed up with a later demanding answers about any and all premium increases. again, lots of demands, but no
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actual legal changes to force anything to change. and over the weekend, the president continued his shame campaign. it's easier than changing laws apparently. his weekly radio address, urged cooperation between washington and the states to stop abuses. three weeks ago he called out blue cross for threatening a 39% premium hike in california. the white house at least trying to appear to put pressure on the insurers. or at least put them on notice anyway that they won't be able to fly under the radar any longer. even if they try to buy every politician in washington. of course, the $263 million spent lobbying last year did buy them an elimination of the antitrust exemption so maintained the monopoly and perpetuation of the employer-based system which is at the root of our problem. that money clearly worth something. just doesn't get them out of being publicly shamed by the president. the president not changing any laws that would hurt them. today the president addressing
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his critics from both the insurance industry and from the halls of congress. strong arming even though he said within his own party who aren't sold on the bill. like progressives. but the "washington times" reports, the democrats, no matter what the president says, continue to splinter and it would appear no one is really listening. joining us, maria cantwell from washington state. how do you view this piece of legislation, senator cantwell? >> well, i think people are listening. and i think you'll see that in the end, my house colleagues will say that it is time to do something about the ever-increasing cost of health care. and that this bill that is going to be before them does make some changes, to try to move health care more in line with the rate of inflation. not double inflation. >> and what do you see as the most significant changes for cost control in the health insurance industry in this bill? >> well, two things. first of all, it basically says that we have to start paying for value instead of just volume. you can't just keep ordering and
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ordering and ordering more just to get a higher medicare reimbursement from doctors. you actually have to base it on outcomes. that's going to change the behavior, and for sthats that already have that kind of system, we've seen huge cost savings. second, there is a provision in the bill for competition with insurance companies. something called the basic health plan. and that can be a state option that we believe could drive down the cost 20% to 30% of individuals who buy that program as opposed to private insurance. >> and this is where you sort of run into a little bit of a communications breakdown sometimes. how many people will be able to participate in those exchanges? in other words, would somebody like myself or anybody else on an employer-based system where there's a lot of money spent on my behalf, if given my druthers i would take the tax deduction myself and buy a cheaper health insurance plan, but i'm not sure i would have that option, or anybody else in that situation. how does that work?
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>> well, we think that this program, the basic health plan could be for people up to 75% of the people who are uninsured today. and they could go and get something that is a competitive alternative to private insurance. and by doing so, can cover families at a much more reasonable rate. if we do that, then we're not going to be paying the $1,000 on each of our premiums for people who already have insurance for the cost of people who go to the emergency room at the 11th hour. that's what we're trying to do. provide that uninsured segment with coverage, and drive down the cost of those who currently already have insurance. >> skeptics look at this and say, listen, you've got to give the democrats points for expanding coverage and deal with the low-hanging fruit like preexisting conditions but they were afraid to go near the elephant in the room which is the special interests, not only the pharmaceutical deals, the health insurance monopoly perpetuation, the perpetuation of the employ-based health care system and this kind of thing.
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how do you respond to that type of criticism? >> we would all like to write our own bill, and i would go further in saying let's not do the subsidies for the insurance companies and instead focus on a real competitive alternative to them. but i think what we have now, that the house has before it, are some real options in controlling costs in the near term. and we ought to take that opportunity and drive towards it. because what we saw from california insurance companies, with the rates going up, it's just going to keep accelerating. and we have to do something now to drive down costs for individuals who currently have insurance. >> understood. one last question for you on health care and then i want to move to financial regulation. representative massa, all this talk, first he's leaving because he's got a health care problem, then he's leaving because there's a personnel conflict, or inappropriate behavior. now he says he's leaving because the democrats are forcing him out for the health care bill. tomorrow he's on glenn beck. do we have the sound bite,
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shannon? take a listen to this, senator. >> mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill. and this administration and this house leadership have said, quote unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. and now they've gotten rid of me and it will pass. >> when you hear this, your thoughts? >> wait and see what he says tomorrow, i guess. >> do you feel that the democratic leadership is forcing democrats, forget mr. massa for a second, to get in line and vote for this bill even if they feel that it is not either in their district or their country's best interest? >> no. i can tell you from experience, people take each of these as a very personal vote to themselves. and while the leadership may be articulating why they think it's good for members to vote for this, each member will make the decision on their own. and, you know, i would just encourage them to look at the basics of what's been proposed
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and driving down costs and make sure they really understand that. because that's what the american people want. >> understood. let's switch to financial regulation. if the president is charlie brown's teacher, in our view of things, senator cantwell obviously with good reason disagrees, the white house spin machine would like us to think tim geithner our treasury secretary is charlie brown, the poor unsung hero of our country's economic rescue. but in our view, mr. geithner is anything but charlie brown. in fact he looks more to us like lucy, facing as you probably know harsh criticism of his handling of the financial crisis. mainly that multibillion dollar back door secret bailout of aig, funneled through aig to deutsche bank and all of those firms. and the unemployment rate hovers around 17%. and geithner, of course, has the nerve to make comments like we saved the economy. but we kind of lost the public doing it. that whon makes me laugh.
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that quote just two weeks ago out of the "new yorker." if saving the american economy is saving wall street while others lose their jobs and houses and creates a society in which the financial elite basically exploit the rest of the country in order to become richer, while basically trying to make the rest of the country into their servants, well, then mr. geithner, mission accomplished. that's not the first time we've heard this rhetoric from the treasury secretary. here he is in front of a house hearing at the end of january. >> this effort, i want to make this very clear, in this effort our objective was as always to get what was -- to get the best deal for the american taxpayer. >> now, i won't repeat all the statistics, but you can get a good sense of what the deal for the american taxpayer has been. billions of dollars were paid out to the bank ceos in creating this problem and none of it has been recovered, nor is there no intention to recover the stolen money. we do wait with baited breath if
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the reform bill actually includes any reform that would require, for instance, that you cannot gamble wildly with other people's money and that there must be transparency so countries like greece can't go with other banks and hide their risks using credit default swaps until the whole world finds out a few years later the government has to bail them out. right now that's perfectly legal. the bill expected to come out this week, although it's been expected to come out this week for many weeks and we have yet to see it, senator cantwell, it appears there's more of a drift back to giving the federal reserve more power over the banking system. why is that? >> well, listen, dylan, it's been 18 months since this financial crisis has happened and we have to have legislation to fix it. we're seeing things like greece and continued -- this problem popping up in other parts of the world. we need to have transparency. we need to have these things on an exchange. and we have to have -- somebody's going to make sure we're looking out for systemic risk and protecting consumers.
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>> so far there's a proposed fee on $120 billion on the banks, total cost seems to be in order of magnitude off, breaking up the big banks, getting rid of too big to fail doesn't seem to be on the table. >> let me just say -- >> i'm confused how our congress in your view is defining reform. >> well, we absolutely have to have those things. you'll see a proposal by myself and senator mccain on breaking up the banks. we think we saw what happened. it's not working for americans. we need to have derivative reform. the real issue is regulate derivatives, have them on exchanges and have transparency so everyone knows what's going on. and we won't have a problem, we won't have to create another agency. have the regulators do their job. and finally -- >> go ahead, sorry. >> get capital flowing to small
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businesses. because main street still isn't seeing the relief. they saw wall street get keys to the tresh rif. and they want to know when is capital going to start flowing through community banks. >> i agree with what you're saying. and many others in this country do as well. at the same time the very de tiff rifs business, talking about reforming with something as crazy as transparency and capital requirements, would kneecap one of the most profitable businesses, and sending money to their lobbyists, linda robertson working for the federal reserve and is currently walking around the senate trying to water this down, knowing that what you're reforming is the single last major profit center for the banking industry, what makes you think that our government could possibly take down something as profitable as jpmorgan's derivatives books? >> well, treasury needs to double their efforts. they need to be consistent in their approach to this issue. only the administration can help
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get a legislative solution to this. if they're not strong enough in what they're saying, we need to have in a bill, we won't get a strong bill. but we need to be saying to these companies about their fiduciary responsibility, their fiduciary responsibility is to protect their customers. when we see things like in greece where they bet on both sides of their customers, that cautions problems and no one trusts the system. we have to get back to making investments happen and have commercial banking separate. >> understood. senator cantwell, i couldn't agree more. and i appreciate you walking through the list of the news today, if you will. maria cantwell with us out of washington, d.c. and of course, from washington state. and tomorrow on the show, steny hoyer responding to congressman massa saying the democrats pushed him out. you heard senator cantwell's view on the vote creation. you will not want to miss the
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steny hoyer here tomorrow at 4:00 on "the dylan ratigan show." but the same person who admits to death panels, goes across the border to get treatment in canada. she likes to hunt moose. liz cheney goes off the right wing deep end, that even right-wingers are saying she has gone too far. if only the tea party would do the same with its nazis and racist members. "hurt locker" may be a good movie but some bomb field technicians say it's not really what hollywood would have you believe. "while you were working," we were watching something amazing happen on a treadmill. you've got to take a break once in a while. hey! increase in 6 months. pete, back it up! ( marker squeaking )
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the gop versus liz cheney. sarah palin, canadian health care, and the underdog that delivered a hurting at the oscars. but it may not have won any friends in the military. we begin with conservative, the darling liz cheney, and the attacks leveled against her by her own party. devaluing the justice department attorneys that represent accused terrorists. ken starr, former deputy attorney general larry thompson joined a group of 19 conservative lawyers that condemned cheney's comments, calling them "shameful and destructive." here to mix it up, jane and david winston. david, your thoughts? >> i mean, look.
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liz cheney clearly is frustrated by the fact that she thinks that she thinks these folks should be treated as enemy combatants and shouldn't go through the u.s. trial system. so she was trying to express herself. i think she went too far. clearly, the idea that you can disagree but not be disagreeable in this particular case she went too far with this argument and personally attacking them in terms of a value level. i think she will find that her style unfortunately overshadowed her substance, which wasn't her intent. >> jane, are you encouraged by the emergence of other republican leaders to at least renounce liz cheney, which is more than you can say for the tea party when it comes to some of their nazi and racist members which they refuse to renounce? >> i think it's a good thing, a sign of how off-base she is. that people like ken star has denounced her in what she did. what she did is mccarthy-esk and unamerican. she claims the lawyers through the bush administration, that they reached out to and said please help us on this, should
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be shamed and intem dated by being rebuked. that they're somehow unamerican. it's a ridiculous proposition and i would hope congress would treat it with the serious when they decided to censure them. >> but if i may add one more thing. when there was some bush folks who the lawyers that the obama team are thinking about potentially bringing up on charges of some of the things they did during the bush years, again, that also got politicized. i think, look, we have a justice department, they're trying to do a lot of very difficult things. we can disagree and have real serious policy discussions. but let's not make this personal. unfortunately i think that's what she did. >> i compliment the gop for renouncing to an effect some of that behavior. it retains some of the integrity in the dialog, or prevents it from slipping further downhill. to sarah palin and her canadian health care, giving a speech in calgary.
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the former governor of alaska said as a child her family used to cross the border to canada to get medical treatment in whitehorse, canada. palin told them, "believe it or not this was in the '60s. we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in whitehorse." i would assume free to them from the canadian taxpayer. it sounded the alarm for the imbending socialism and told us that death panels were going to decide who would die, when. sarah palin went on to describe her family's trips across the border as ironic. in some ways, jane, it feels like it makes the point that if you're rich, this is a fantastic country to get health care in. and if you're not rich, you may think about going someplace else. and the palins weren't rich and made the rational decision to go to canada. >> it's also part of the sarah palin -- the narrative of it's okay for me, but not for thee. canada does have a very functioning health care system. we've been told by sarah palin
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and many, many arch conservatives that the single pair health care style canada practices is not functioning and no good. here he is going over and saying blase, yeah, it's good, we loved it. >> i don't know what her health care situation was. i'm sorry, but i would never trade an experience here in the united states for one in canada. i think the health care system here is that much better. i don't know what she was dealing with in alaska. >> nobody's disputing the quality of the health care in america, but whether the acce accessibility has meaningful end roads to the government. nobody's debating the quality of care. >> i would suggest those people who actually have insurance and getting the health care are satisfied, the problem we have as a country is what do we do with the people who don't have the health care. those getting health care are getting terrific care. >> i couldn't agree more, other than those getting health care
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are pleasurably enjoying health care, and are dooming future generations of this country for a problem they're too negligent to deal with. >> are you talking about medicare? >> that medical care costs vastly more than it should, and allowing a commerce between patients and doctors. >> i think you and i are probably going to disagree on this point. >> that's why they call it a mix. blasting "the hurt locker" for the disrespectful portrayal of a bomb disposal unit in iraq. a sobering look at war as a narcotic effectively this bomb disposal unit turned on, a drenlized by the search for ieds. it took home six oscars, best picture and director. but richard allen smith slams the film the day after for taking dramatic license to
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pepper the film with an extra layer of anxiety. smith calls the film "completely made up with no basis in reality." because its character behaves in a way that real soldiers never would. many soldiers refer to sort of the adren allized rush speaking aspect of this as false. again, our friend in the paper this morning was especially critical of the film's crew who thanked service members after each win. jane, your thoughts? >> i think that sounds a little his trionic. it's not a documentary, it's a drama. there may well be people over there that had that experience. to say there were none sounds like you're trying to claim some exclusive knowledge about what happened in iraq. when in fact many soldiers have actually praised the film and said it's the most realistic one to date. there's a variety of opinions. if richard allen smith wants to speak for all veterans, i think he may be making a few too many
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assumptions. >> secretary of defense gates said he thought this was a really good film. having said that, here is a fellow doing this sort of thing. he may have seen some inaccuracies and it bugged him. being that he served the country, he has a right to make his opinion known. >> thank you for letting me mix it up with you. a new report that touts how great things are now that fewer schools are selling sugary soda to children. but in this case, should you be wary of the source of the information? plus, could this whole toyota de backle been avoided if they had only listened to their employees? details of a stunning new report ahead. [ female announcer ] the latest athletic fabrics
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in today's "by the numbers," forget the coke after class. students skipping soda all together when it comes to school. the beverage industry announced
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the result of a three-year promise to pull all full-calorie soft drinks out of american schools and replace them with lower calorie, smaller portioned beverages by this year. here's some of the big findings. sales of full calorie soft drinks dropped 95% between '04 and '09. apparently taking soda out of school, fried food out of school reduces the consumption of that product. juice sales were also down 94%. why is this? the aba says they have dropped the volume of high-calorie soft drinks shipped to schools dramatically. as a result, sugary soft drinks reportedly made up 40% of the in-school product mix in '04. it's down to 6.8% as of the last semester. the beverage industry said it is part of their commitment to fighting childhood obesity. again, an industry that banks on selling sugary sodas wants to fight obesity.
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here's a little tip that your industry might be in trouble. when you have to stand next to a former president bragging about a drop in your product's sales. it might be time to switch up your product line. still ahead, are we winning any of the wars that we are fighting with our children and our money? the white house touting a huge move forward in iraq. but as the nation's -- or the world's fourth most corrupt nation, is iraq really better off. and why is the defense secretary warning there are still many dark days ahead when it comes to afghanistan. and thank you for being a friend, why one of hollywood's most legendary golden girls was left out of the oscars last night. you're the colon lady! diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating. that's me! can i tell you what a difference phillips' colon health has made? it's the probiotics. the good bacteria. that gets your colon back in balance. i'm good to go! phillips' colon health.
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well, a barrage of headlines as this piece of tape just showed all of us coming from multiple fronts on which our country is fighting right now, in iraq, in afghanistan and in the all-important pakistan. i do want to get right into the discussion on the state of play
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in the region. with us now, brett, former national security council member and current member of the council of foreign relations, and from washington, d.c., lieutenant colonel anthony shaffer for the center for advanced defense studies. brett, i'll start with you here. iraq, the election, it would appear it's a good thing that there was any form of an election in that country relative to its past. at the same time, it would seem an easy, looking at the pervasiveness of corruption, to be too optimistic as well? >> overall it was a good day. four years ago was the last national election. you can't look at the past, but you can learn from it. we were in the streets, we were kind of providing oversight security. yesterday 95,000 u.s. troops only on base. we were kind of like the firemen on called. we didn't get called. that's good. the iraqis did it themselves. 62% turnout. however, it's going to take months to form a government. and so the action's going to start in a couple weeks. again, in 2005, it took six
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months to form a government. nine weeks after the election was an attack and sectarian violence. i don't think that's going to happen again, but there's going to be a lot of political turmoil. a lot will still try to fight back. >> to brett's point, tony, the economists were reporting over the past couple of days that the number one cause of death for an iraqi politician is assassination. which goes to brett's point which as a form of government, there's still plenty of opportunity. i noticed the pervasiveness of corruption. iraq is the fourth most corrupt country in the world. just to give you an example. you want to get a license plate for your car, that's $3,000 worth of bribes. you want to get a job working as a cop, that's $5,000 worth of bribes. you want to become a colonel in the army? that will cost you 300 gs. so, too, will a judgeship. are we kidding ourselves with this country as a potential point of stability when you look at the level of corruption and the proximity to a place like
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iran? >> well, i think, dylan, we've got to look hard at why we're there and what we're going to leave. right now we're going to leave with a system in place. is it a perfect system? no. and frankly, i'm not sure from all the research we've done, that it is our job to install a jeffersonian style democracy. will the region remain stable? let's look at mexico, for examp example. just south of the border we've had extreme instance of corruption as well. so let's look at this realistically. will the region remain stable? perhaps. we hope. the general was interviewed right here today on msnbc said we'll have to rate victory year by year by year. we're not going to have a clear-cut victory like the end of world war ii. we're going to have more of a korean type solution where, technically, dylan, the north koreans and south koreans remain at the state of war with us on the border, sitting there trying to help stabilize the region.
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we're entering an era of persistent conflict. that conflict means that we have to look at our national interests and how we can protect our national interests and at the same time help allys. will they remain an ally in the next year and the year after that. >> insofar as this creates an opportunity for iran to fill the evangelical com as the iraq withdraws from iraq? >> the local elections, all the incumbent parties lost because they were accused of being corrupt. that's interesting. iran's a big player in iraq. i like to say our best ally in iran and iraq is the iraqis. iran put a lot of money into this election. it's looking like their parties have not fared as well as they had hoped. we'll have to see. the iraqis pushed back against iran quite a bit. the iran is trying to build a hezbollah-like force in iraq. it didn't work. they're now trying to pour a lot of money into the political campaigns. we'll see.
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they tried to block our security agreement. the iraqis passed that agreement, it didn't work. they tried to block iraq with signing deals with oil companies. that didn't work. iran is trying to find their footing in iraq. they have tremendous influence. but it's simplistic to say they're winners in iraq. >> if we're asked who they dislike more, what are they likely to say? >> because we're out of the streets, it's iran. that's good. >> let's talk about afghanistan for a second, tony, going back to the criteria you were just using with iraq. use of american resources, definition of american self-interests, security and all the rest of it. how do you view the current campaign, not just in afghanistan, but afghanistan and pakistan? >> i'm glad you brought it up that way, dylan, because we have to look at it as one single set. first off, i believe that the afghan campaign is moving forward, and part of this is general mcchrystal trying to change the perception that we're losing. and that's a difficult thing, because the taliban very effective in establishing shadow government. right now he's using the marjah
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effort as a format to look at how we're going to go about doing the kandahar campaign. and frankly, part of our problem is two-fold. first, we've already set down a line of time that we have to follow to do everything to get out. and i think that may be a problem for general mcchrystal. sendly, we still have not been able to establish an understanding of where the taliban is actually operating out of, and what they're going to do. and there's two reasons for that. first, you've got to look at things like the hig. it's one of the taliban groups but now there's infighting in the country. as we approach the taliban, we have to take it apart piece by piece by piece. >> are we doing that? >> well, i think we are. it was actually enlightening and a good sign we had the taliban fighting the taliban just recently a few days ago. that's a good sign. >> you're nodding, why? >> i agree with tony. he's a smart guy. it's a war of perceptions.
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we can do this. we can take these guys on. we're looking for the ordinary afghani and ordinary packy to get on the winning team. we've got a winning streak going and we've got to keep it up. >> secondly, we've got to look at how the government's actually going to perform. we're trying to take a government which to structure it as such around a country that has never had a central government that is strong. we're doing social experimentation here. it's anyone's guess if it will work or not. we already saw where the resources are going in for the surge. the question is, are those resources going to the right spots. will they be there on time. and will they do what general mcchrystal wants it to do. >> the honest answer to those questions right now is we don't know? >> well, you've got to look at the fact we just talked about corruption. the central government is not all that -- seen as all that favorable to the local population. we've got to look at that very hard. >> we'll do that another time. brett, tony, a pleasure.
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thank you so much. staying with iran, they may not have a nuke yet but they do say they are making all sorts of other weapons. iran's defense minister saying the country has begun production of a highly accurate short-range cruise missile. a nasr one, capable of hitting targets 3,000 tons in size. eventually from helicopters and submarines. the u.s. air force also has something new, however. though none of us really know what that is. bloggers speculating for months about an air force launch of a new space plane later this month. so nar it's been dubbed the flying twinkie because of its odd shape. it's mounted atop an atlas rocket like the one you see in this video. all we know so far is that this so-called flying twinkie is supposed to orbit the earth for several weeks, maneuver and then glide its way back to earth. what it will do while it's there is any conspiracy theorist's
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guess. a new international bbc sur fay found four of every five americans think access to the internet is a right. ironically there was a particularly strong response in china, where the internet is regulat regulated. respondents say they could not live without the internet. by the way, nearly three-quarters of americans say they depend on the internet. that's 227 million of us. finally, if you need to get out of town right now, jetblue offering $10 fares. the tenth anniversary, offering cheap fares this afternoon for some flights from new york kennedy airport. their first ten destinations including a string of them in sunnier places than new york in new york. it's only offered until midnight tonight. and there is a catch. you'll pay the normal fare for your return flight. so a $10 one-way. you may want to think about how you want to deal with that. anyway, in houston, texas, a
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bull decided to get out of town and broke free altogether from its rodeo. two folks were injured at the livestock show. cowboys came to the rescue, god bless them, and wrangled the bull back to its pen. take a look. while we were working, what do you get when you cross a bicycle and a treadmill and a shirtless kid with nothing better to do? a fun cable video. apparently the front wheels locked up causing him to face plant into the equipment. we hear bikes also work on the street. still ahead, she was maude. she was auntie maim's best friend and she was dorothy. but she was not included in the oscars last night. and a reporter with two bottles of vodka said he poked some major holes in aviation security without much of a problem. security officials busted at the airport after the break.
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back with "busted." a startling revelation with the workers at toyota hen they tried to sound the safety problems four years ago. obviously no one was listening. the "los angeles times" reporting that an '06 memo outlined "dangerous safety and manpower short consults to lower costs and boost production and profitability. i've "the authors of the memo worried that their careers might
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be damaged by calling attention to the problems. their memo offered a sobering statistic from 2000 to '05, recalling more than 5 million cars. one in three, 36% of all vehicles sold. but the memo ignored and business continued as usual all in the name of making more money and reducing costs. again, in the modern world brand fraud, we have crappy quality but you can still sell something, is the new way, especially, you know, you get the point. the "times" reports a complaint from a widow whose husband dropped dead at his desk blackened toyota's eye a little more after the memo was released but acknowledging fault now doesn't undo the damage. toyota has caused to its workers and its customers, but they did make that money selling those crappy cars, which is a victory for them. up next, international airport agencies allowed a dutch journalist to smuggle six
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bottles of liquid that landed here in the united states. he bought six bottles of bacardi rum in amsterdam, took them home, emptied them out and a week later showed up with the bottles and pretended to have just bought them. european politicians are now calling for security upgrades. but whatever it may be, there certainly could have been anything in those bottles and they had no problem getting into the united states. and finally, in the oscars, and particularly in the memoriam tribute which failed to mention both farrah fawcett and bea arthur that died last year. they did manage to include the world's most famous singer, michael jackson, who died on the same day as farrah fawcett. film critic roger ebert tweeted the event said no farrah fawcett in the tribute? major fail. they both had notable film careers as well.
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academy reps say it was not a mistake, that they simply can't include everyone. coming up, it's the greatest fear for many people going to a therapist, revealing your personal information. but fear not now, an insurance company is accused of trying to get your most sensitive secrets in exchange for your payment. they want to make sure you're sharing secrets with your therapist apparently. at the top of the hour, the man challenging arlen specter in the pennsylvania primary, democratic congressman sestak with chris on "hardball." do not forget coming up tomorrow on "the dylan ratigan show," house majority leader steny hoyer, democrat of ph.maryland, claiming the democrats pushed massa out because he was a no vote on health care. end them off each day. our future leaders. explorers, great thinkers. they're the future of america, so let's bring them up right
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we are back in the "town square" with a bitter pill for the health insurance companies. a group of psychologists in new jersey are taking them to court over the release of confidential patient information. court documents accusing horizon, blue cross, blue shield and magellan health services demanding that their doctors reveal details about the patients' thoughts and feelings as a condition for getting paid for the use of psychological services. that, by the way, is against the law in the state of new jersey. horizon and magellan both claim the suit is without merit. but 2,100 psychologists feel differently. joining us now, dr. phyllis lake, a psychologist and past president of the new jersey
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psychological association. doctor, a pleasure, nice to see you. what exactly are you accusing them of doing? >> well, first, thank you for having me here to present this on a national platform. we feel, and it's an interesting thing we're accusing them of, because it's hard to get the answers actually as to what is happening. we feel the state benefit plan and horizon, blue cross/blue shield, and magellan have been routinely deny access to care and make care more difficult for patients by asking very, very confidential information that basically harms the patients in terms of the right of being able to have privacy. that really violates the privacy laws of our licensing act and makes people more stressed. and that really, in a way, wastes taxpayer money because so much more of the money, the dollar is going towards the management than actually the direct patient care. >> to that end, the american journal of psychiatry says -- actually, i'm sorry, the j rich and associates says 50 cents on
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the dollar not used for direct patient care when it comes to mental health. >> that is correct. and it is unusual. medicare seems so do it with 5 cents on the dollar. many other insurance companies seem to do it with 13 cents on the dollar. and the independent audit of rich has really shown that more than 50 cents on the dollar in new jersey through the state health benefits plan is being spent on case management wastefully and not being funneled to direct care. >> i want to make sure i understand this. basically if i'm a psychologist and i want to get payment from my -- from the health insurance company of my patient, that the health insurance company in this case, the ones you've already referenced, will squeeze me as the doctor to provide more information about the nature of my dialog and counseling with the patient, is that correct? >> that is correct. they absolutely will insist on more authorization for treatment. so whereas we could get 12 sessions before, it went to 10, then to 8, then to 6. each time they are asking are fou information that really goes
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beyond the psychologist practicing license in new jersey. that is asking very intrusive questions. they are questions that are making people very concerned as to where does this information go. is my hr person going to know this. can i be able to trust that the relationship will be private and sanctified. the surgeon general in 1999 spoke about therapy works and confidentiality is actually the cornerstone that makes it work. >> but if the basis of the profitability of the health insurance company is to be able to collect as much money from people as possible and pay out as little as possible, that's how they make money, and if they can figure out a way to pay out less money for therapy by getting more information about what people are getting therapy for and then deciding, we'll hang on, you're just having marital problems and you have a minor drug problem, they can decide those really aren't problems, we're not going to pay for that, don't they need the intimate knowledge of the therapist's session to determine whether they want to pay for therapy for whatever the problem
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may be? >> there's no question we want to be fiscally responsible and we endorse the idea of not wasting taxpayer dollars. that's actually why we've gone ahead and filed a lawsuit. because when you ask this kind of information, it's really violating patient confidentiality. it is not saving money. it is a misnomer for them to think it's saving money. >> why? if i decide -- if i learn that 50% of my patients, i'm a health insurance executive, are coming in for marital coupling and i decide, listen, everybody with a marital problem, i'm not paying for anymore because there's too many married people, and i now make more money because i have that information. >> we know 60% to 70% of people who present at their primary care physician, present with mental health concerns. we know that approximately 60% to 70% of hospital visits would be put off if you have quality mental health care. we know that people who have mental health pro
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